Sleeping is Overrated, and Dreams are Dumb.

Cat Meme Ceiling cat Watching you sleep REM sleep starring at you through hole Sometimes, late at night, when the metronomic rhythms of contented breathing fill in the silence of the house and replace the chaotic noises of an insane world, I jealously stare at my wife.  If she awoke it would probably be creepy, but I know she can not be easily stirred from the unconscious, so a fear of disturbing my spouse is not one of the myriad of reasons I am still awake.

This restlessness is not a nightly ritual. I do not suffer from insomnia. I just can't fall asleep some nights.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, late in life and suffering my many personal demons once said, 'In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o' clock in the morning."  Forgotten and alone, he was dealing with a spiritual crisis and what he called "emotional bankruptcy," that had him questioning his life choices.

F. Scott Fitzgerald The Crack Up book cover Penguin classics
Another forgotten

It is not any kind of personal turmoil that keeps me awake.  I'm mostly happy. I think I just have an overactive mind.

Sure, I could see a sleep therapist; who would probably recommend a change in diet, or a daily exercise regiment, or cutting caffeine and stress from my life. All of which I've tried.  Perhaps I might be given some nice prescribed pill that would knock me out physically, while doing God knows what to other parts of my body.

I don't want any pills. I'm not that worried about my late nights. Frankly, I'm tired of pills and doctors and patches to small issues that open up other wounds in other locations. I don't think it's a sickness.

I just don't fall asleep easily. And I wake up a lot. Also, I don't dream. Nothing memorable anyways.

Trying to sleep, insomnia, tossing and turning guy can't sleep Some have said it's sleep apnea.  But that doesn't explain why I sometimes spend three hours lying in bed, nearing the sweet surrender to night, only to have a stupid thought or worry or memory or minor discomfort that causes a stir, a movement, and then complete alertness. It might as well be lunchtime, or the middle of my workday.  And yet, my next workday is only four hours away, and I still haven't ended the current day.  I haven't given my brain its precious recovery time to back-up files and analyze and compartmentalize memories that it probably needs to make my next day successful.

But, even on those nights where only three or four hours of interrupted sleep envelope me, my next days aren't a complete waste.  I don't sleepwalk through the day.  In fact I don't even feel tired most days. I just don't sleep well.

Michael Stipe REM lead singer with ugly blue paint on face singing Losing my Religion Everybody Hurts
How many lost their religion when they saw
this performance, Michael Stipe?  
If I do get eight or more hours of sleep, I actually feel worse the next day.  Not that I ever really experience more than six hours of continued unconsciousness.  I don't think I even have REM sleep.  I probably dream about the band REM singing Everybody Hurts, more than actually experiencing any kind of rapid eye movement.  I think if anything I might get BEM (Brisk Eye Movement).

I said I don't dream, but I do. A little. Just nothing important. I rarely remember them, and they don't make for good stories. Unlike Stephen King, my books will never be filled with inspiration derived from an overactive unconsciousness.  The monsters and thrills of my dreams are usually tasks like repairing the toilet or taking a different route to work in the morning and saying, "Why'd I never go this way before?"

My unconscious self is really boring, which is probably why I try to make the most of my conscious moments.  I can't live vicariously through my mundane dreams.

Napoleon Bonaparte Lego minfigure figure French General with sword and gun
Modern historians now know that
Napoleon was actually taller
than a Lego character. 
We still know so little about sleep and dreams.  Among many other very creative light-sleepers, Napoleon Bonaparte, perhaps the greatest military mind that ever lived, used to give his soldiers only four hours of sleep each night, and his French army nearly conquered a continent.  Maybe if he wasn't so sleep deprived he could've given those exhausted soldiers six hours of sleep and a nice wool blanket to outlast the Russian winter.  Or maybe it was not being "lazy" that made his army overachieve.

Others argue that less than six hours causes all kinds of health risks like diabetes, high blood pressure, being overweight, depression, and other life shortening symptoms.

Yuck.  I, however, don't suffer this experience every night.  It's a random thing, and one I'm used to even in its sporadic nature.  I no longer drink caffeine after 2 pm.  I try not to get stressed or worried about the next day. I've been passive about finding solutions, but I intend to get more active (<famous last words by lazy guys everywhere).

Depressed girl after getting placed in Hufflepuff by sorting hat wishes it was Ravenclaw
Hufflepuff depression.  When you realize
your life is just "Meh."  
I want to sleep. I want to dream. I want an internal clock that lets me know it's okay to be tired at eleven o' clock at night. I don't want to stress about things that I can't control at the witching hour. But, if after all of these changes, the only difference is that I have vivider dreams and feel more regulated...well, Hufflepuff.  I'd rather my days be filled with creativity and action and my nights be tedious and unmemorable, than be the greatest sleeper of all time.

I guess what I'm saying is I don't want to sleep my life away.  I'd rather dream in the day. Good sleep is nice, but after a few years of waking up with the children, and placating bad dreams, I've found that sleep just isn't as important to me as it once was.

Conversely, the word REFRESHED sometimes sounds so appealing I buy products with it plastered on the label.

Maybe what I really need is a vacation.  I just have to remember to bring my pillow, because I can never sleep on those hotel mattresses...


File this blog under Seinfeldian Nothingness.  A blog about nothing.  No point.  Sorry.  I'm tired.


  1. I'm not an insomniac, but I am the world's lightest sleeper. I started sleeping with earplugs, it was so bad - especially after getting married to a, *ahem,* snorer who flips around in his sleep like a ballet dancer.

    1. Unfortunately, I'm both. A snorer, and a super light sleeper. Sometimes my snoring will wake me up, as I get self-conscious in my sleep (which I didn't even know was possible) and hope I'm not disturbing other people.

      I sleep so light that when I go camping I wake when I hear mosquitos buzzing outside my tent.